Halo has always had a certain brand of multiplayer that has never really been messed with. Even the smallest additions in Halo 4 managed to tick off a lot of die-hard fans, especially the addition of sprinting. So it’s interesting to see Halo 5 not revert back to the ways of the old, but rather transform the game’s multiplayer into something completely new.
Because that’s essentially what multiplayer in Guardians is. It’s familiar enough to still look and feel like Halo, but with a swift kick in the mobility pillar of gameplay. 343 Industries wants players to feel like the Master Chief we see in the game’s cutscenes, bringing about a new dawn for the franchise in its first new entry on current-gen hardware.
The core of these changes lie with seven new Spartan abilities, which will be standard for all players. There’s no more deciding between a jetpack or increased sprinting. Every player will be able to move in exactly the same way as everyone else, which leaves more up to skill. Some of the seven new abilities don’t change things up much, while others might not sit well with you.
- Thruster Pack: This is essentially a smaller jump pack that was in Halo 4. You can boost up, dash forward and even strafe side-to-side on the ground or in mid-air. Very similar to the additions Advanced Warfare introduced to Call of Duty this year.
- Ground Pound: While you’re up in the air, you’re able to take and and dive to the ground for instant melee kills – because teabagging wasn’t humiliating enough.
- Clamber: In line with more mobility, Halo 5 will allow you to mantle up onto grabbed edges. That means less embarrassing close call jumps and more fluidity during sprints.
- Slide: Sprinting is still here, but at terminal velocity you’re able to tap crouch and initiate a slide into cover. The slide seems to be a pre-determined length, meaning you can easily overshoot and find yourself sliding right off the map.
- Charge: Always bothered that you had to slow down to pound enemies with your first? Well no more, as charge allows you to melee attack while still sprinting.
- Sprint: Of course, sprint is back. But it’s been balanced a bit now to feel less like a free advantage. While sprinting your shields won’t recharge, so you’ll have to use is sparingly.
- Smart Scope: Yes, you can aim down the sights with every weapon in Halo 5. However, there’s no aiming or damage buff associated with it, and getting hit by an enemy will immediately “descope” you. This was highly requested by professional players.
So that’s a lot to take in, right? Seeing it in action definitely makes the game look a lot faster and far more tactical, and in a way very similar to this year’s Call of Duty. The idea of letting every weapon aim down the sights doesn’t sound that bad considering all the balancing 343 has put in place, and I think it’s the least important addition to stress over.
I’m looking squarely at melee while sprinting, which I think may cause some issues. It’s a bit counter-balanced with the fact that shields won’t recharge while sprinting, but I’m assuming it’s going to be something the masses won’t immediately agree with.
Thankfully we don’t have to wait long to get our hands on it. Halo 5: Guardians will enter multiplayer beta on December 29th and run for three weeks. You’ll get access by purchasing the Master Chief Collection on Xbox One, so that you can join us in being completely confused by the game’s new systems for the first few hours.
Last Updated: November 11, 2014